Warning: this article will dive into possible spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Although Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) has become a fan-favorite member of the Guardians of the Galaxy team over the course of James Gunn's two Marvel films, audiences still don't know much about him. We know that he was cybernetically enhanced in a painful, tortuous process, but the nitty-gritty details of that procedure haven't been laid bare for us. Even without a clear-cut explanation of his origins, James Gunn recently admitted that eagle-eyed fans should've been able to spot references to Rocket's past somewhere in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. When asked about the question of Rocket's origin, the director posted:
That's about as vague as vague gets, but it at least it clues us into the fact that Rocket's origin story received a nod during the most recent installment in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. The character experienced an entire arc that took him from stealing The Sovereign's Anulax Batteries to his battles with The Ravagers to making friends with the now-deceased Yondu (Michael Rooker) in the latter half of the story. According to James Gunn's post, somewhere along the way, the film dropped a reference to Rocket's early years that didn't necessarily have much bearing over Vol. 2's plot but went a long way towards indicating where he came from in the cosmos.
Thinking long and hard about James Gunn's post, there are quite a few different options to consider when we look at all of the Marvel references and deep cuts scattered throughout Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. That said, one definite possibility has roots in comments made by Nebula (Karen Gillan) after her battle with Gamora (Zoe Saldana).
Specifically, once the two sisters begin to reconcile their differences with one another, Nebula goes into semi-graphic detail about how Thanos (Josh Brolin) gradually pulled her apart after each of her failed battles with her sister and slowly replaced her with enhanced cybernetic prosthetics. Though it's pretty grim, the language used in the scene feels oddly reminiscent of a sequence in the original Guardians of the Galaxy in which Rocket talks about his own creation and the process of being pulled apart for experimentation.
Does this mean that the bomb-building trash panda's origin story has roots with Thanos? It's impossible to tell at this point, but that part stood out to me, and would make quite a bit of sense when we consider the massive team-up against The Mad Titan that's scheduled to go down six months from now. Only time will tell.